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Dr. Bill Cloke
los angeles, ca
Bill Cloke is a licensed therapist specializing in couples therapy.
Interests: music, spinning, art, spirituality., hiking, writing, photography, biking, psychology
Recent Activity
Jake came to my office with fear in his eyes. What was getting himself into? Not unusual, so I start by soothing his hesitations and helping him to see that it’s a process that starts by building trust and I... Continue reading
Breaking News! We are happy to annouce "Happy Together: Creating a Lifetime of Connection, Commitment and Intimacy" is the Winner in the 'Self-Help: Relationships' category of The 2012 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News., the premier online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2012 at Happy Together Book
IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Named in honor of America's most cherished publisher/printer, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards™ recognizes excellence in independent publishing. Publications are grouped into 55 categories by genre are judged on editorial and design merit by top professionals in each field. The 24th annual... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2012 at Happy Together Book
We are pleased to announce Happy Together by Dr. Bill Cloke has won the 2012 Nautilus Silver Book Award in Relationships. The Nautilus Awards recognizes Books and Audio Books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change, while at the same time they stimulate the "imagination" and offer... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2012 at Happy Together Book
Why psychotherapy? What are we trying to do? Some think that we try to relieve responsibility by blaming the parents. Others believe that it is self indulgent to sit there and talk about ourselves. The truth is that we are about relieving pain. Emotional pain in the form of anxiety, depression, anger and low self esteem are at the heart of the causes of emotional unrest. Unfortunately we are too close to the subject to know what to do. The missing link is another person, an objective observer, non judgmental and non critical voice who can help build skills for relieving internal tension, bad relationships and experiential pain. Continue reading
"The married are those who have taken the terrible risk of intimacy and, having taken it, know life without intimacy to be impossible." - Carolyn Heilbrun For most of us, the word intimate conjures up romantic images of candlelit dinners, slow dancing, and long passionate kisses. Romantic gestures are certainly a dominant theme of intimacy, but there is more. Intimacy in the real world is the result of expressing our feelings, our personal secrets, and our deepest truths to each other. It arises when we feel cared about, accepted, and loved for our own sake, warts and all. The word intimacy originates from the Latin word intima, which means “inner” or “innermost.” Thomas Patrick Malone writes in The Art of Intimacy, “The outstanding quality of the intimate experience is the sense of being in touch with our real selves. It allows us a fresh awareness of who, what, and how we are.” Continue reading
People say things like "Trying doesn't count" when referring to relationships. The truth is, it does make a difference. When our partner can see that we are trying to do those things that are important to them, they feel loved.... Continue reading
What is the song, don't worry be happy? Were it so easy we would all be better off. Worry is instilled in us from a very early age. We worry about money, jobs, love, friends or whatever else might come up. Worry is like a light that we shine on different things but the worry is the same. The financial downturn, rising prices, the demands of daily life give rise to constant stress and worry. It appears out of thin air like an oderless, tasteless gas, invading our thoughts. Continue reading
A Beatles song captures the imagination of youthful love in the verse, "When she crossed that room, my heart went boom and I fell in love with her." When we are hit with that thunderbolt, we become teenagers again as a tsunami of chemicals amass the feelings of love at first sight. At this point our bodies are chock full of pheromones, oxytocin and vasopressin, the love combo, as it whipsaws us around in a whirl of chemical goo. How sweet it is. Scientists now believe we needed those compounds to survive as a species when animals roamed free some ten thousand years ago. At the time a women needed a man to be interested enough to protect her and her infant until the child was old enough to keep up with the swift moving tribe. Continue reading
"Only connect,” wrote E. M. Forster in Howards End,“and human love will be seen at its height.” Love depends on a couple’s ability to forge and then maintain the precious bond between them. We want to look more closely at... Continue reading
"Only connect,” wrote E. M. Forster in Howards End,“and human love will be seen at its height.” Love depends on a couple’s ability to forge and then maintain the precious bond between them. We want to look more closely at ways of creating connection, preserving it through challenging times, and healing breaks when they occur. Continue reading
Is there such a thing as constructive criticism? Not really? Criticism seems more like a punch in the stomach than a helpful hint. Complaints are a different animal altogether. The major difference between a criticism and a complaint is that... Continue reading
For couples, the development of moral processes and belief systems helps relationships run more smoothly and provides an important steadying influence. To develop our moral code we must question, scrutinize, evaluate, and enunciate those values we hold to be important. These earnest efforts to create shared values are the bulwark of relationship stability. Establishing values we agree upon is like reaching level ground where a relationship can find its balance and keep moving forward. Lasting love is supported best by principles, opinions, feelings, ethics, and morals that represent what is important to both people—and that both people are willing to make a priority. As I sit with couples who are fighting about an issue that seems so crucial at the time, I often say, “What’s more important, your relationship or being right?” Continue reading
Creating intimacy is a lot like building a house. We start with a solid foundation of truth, acceptance, and reality; we lay out the rooms of our desires, fantasies, wants, and needs; we frame the windows to our soul, wire in our emotional connections, add the hardware of values, joy, and sexuality, and join them all together to create a home. The raw materials for our building are drawn from a dialogue about what we want, need, and value about ourselves and our mate. Continue reading
So, I'm in session with a man who is recounting a story about how angry he was with his wife because she told him that she would call him after her meeting and then didn't call until 11:30 pm. They are currently separated because he decided at one point that he was in love with someone else and told her about it. After he actually moved out and in the moment where he was about to remove his wedding ring, it hit him like a thunder bolt that he had made a gigantic mistake. He rushed back to her begging for forgiveness. He began a campaign to win her back. Continue reading
The old Bob Dylan song goes something like "I was so much older then, I am younger than that now." I guess that dates me a bit, but there is a kernel of truth in Bob's timeless lyric. I think what he meant was that when we are young we are so sure of what we believe in and we are so wise in our own mind. But as we mature, we discover that our sense of truth doesn't hold up to ambiguity, nuance and shades of grey. We become less sure of what seemed to be so true at one time. This not knowing makes us feel not as old as we once felt. As a society we are enamored with knowing. From pundits to know-it-alls, we admire those people who seem to have a handle on what appears to be the truth. In relationships knowing just gets in the way. Continue reading
The problem of blaming the parents remains a very difficult one for psychotherapists and patients because our need to be loyal to our parents naturally leads us to lay the responsibility for our problems on some essential flaw within us. But the fact is that though parents try to do their best, they may not provide the necessary emotional connections, support, or nurturing we need and as a result may unintentionally harm us. Most parents are doing what they know and what they learned from their own parents, who might have been very limited in their emotional resources and even abusive. When we can understand that a series of negative experiences is what has created our negative self-image, we can eventually build a true sense of who we are. Not that we must reject or even confront our parents, but in accepting them as human beings we humanize them and ourselves. Continue reading
Working with couples over the years there are two central themes that emerge over and over again. The first is our inability to see what our partner is saying to us about our behavior and the second is that we may not be able to see what we are doing at all and instead see ourselves in an entirely different way than we actually are. Both are some form of blindness. Continue reading
Is there such a thing as constructive criticism? Not really? Criticism seems more like a punch in the stomach than a helpful hint. Complaints are a different animal altogether. The major difference between a criticism and a complaint is that a criticism is a personal attack and a complaint is about who we are. Criticism creates defensiveness. How could it be otherwise? Defensiveness is a knee jerk response to criticism; it’s payback. A complaint on the other hand aspires to loftier goals; it’s about your inner world. Continue reading
Do you have trouble completing tasks on time? Are you afraid to try new things because you are afraid to fail at them? Are you self critical and a perfectionist? Do you use the word should and what if a lot? If you answered "yes" to these questions then you need to read further. We "should" on ourselves for what we did or didn't do in our past and "what if" ourselves about the future. I should have made that investment, dated that girl or guy, gone bungee jumping. What if I lose everything, what if she rejects me, what if I don't succeed and what if I fail? These all too common refrains that are heard in almost every quarter, along with "no fear" or "go for it." These competing messages can be overwhelming. What to do? Continue reading
We have all seen the Wizard of Oz and remember the scene when Toto pulled back the curtain revealing instead of the The Great Oz, a man who was pulling levers. This short scene from this classic film is to a greater or lesser extent all of us. We live our lives behind our curtain. It is so often the case with people whom I work with that they do not know who is behind their own curtain either. Marriages, friendships and relationships in general are filled with casual conversation, hidden agendas and the longing to be known and accepted, warts and all Continue reading
From working with couple's for over 25 years some disturbing trends have evolved that appear like a train wreck in the making. When couples go off the rails being right by one or both partner is usually somewhere in the mix. Being right is a road block, it cuts off communication and causes the process to be driven up a dead end with not redemption. Usually I see exasperated people coming in with little hope of coming to terms with the pile of issues that have not been resolved. It gets pretty daunting to dig out from the mess that is stirred up by needing and wanting to be right. I say this as a reformed right person who has found the holy grail of communication. The willingness to be wrong, to see it from the other person's point of view and even be able to let them know that I hear them. What a concept? Continue reading
Just as there are methods and means for creating love, there are defensive processes that can obstruct it. Let’s take a look at some of the main love-killers. Globalization: “Everybody does that.” Globalization essentially obscures the truth. If someone doesn’t... Continue reading
Relationships start out with such promise. Everything seems so perfect. The way they look, speak, smile and the newness of it all is so sweet. Then over time the power of the beginning attraction begins to fade like the sun setting on the blush of a rose. First there are those disappointments, he forgets your birthday, she has a strange attachment to her brother, then the squabbles, until finally you feel alienated and you don't know how you got there. Don't know if my readers remember Citizen Kane by Orson Wells, but there is a breakfast table scene that plays out the arc of a failing relationship. It's done in about seven small scenes ending with the two of them in total silence. So how do we know when a relationship is worth saving, or we should throw in the towel? Continue reading
The way a relationship begins is often a far cry from what it’s like after many years of being together, and what it’s like is what we make it. If our partner asks for help and we don’t give it—or if we take a moment to consider our partner’s point of view; if we feel entitled to scream obscenities when we’re angry—or if we pay close attention to our partner’s needs; either way, our actions will have consequences, positive or negative. To ensure that the love we begin with is still there 10 or 20 years in the future is thus a constant process of making and creating a loving environment. Continue reading